Typographical Conventions

As you find in any technical documentation, there are a number of typographical conventions you need to be familiar with to properly understand what is being presented to you.

To make computer text non-ambiguous from the surrounding prose angle quotes are used to show input text. So, for example, localdomain.. You can easily therefore tell that localdomain is to be entered with precisely one dot after it, and that the second dot is part of the surrounding text. The font is also changed to a monospace font.

The following is what you see when interacting with the shell or other program:

prompt$ you type this
Output from your command
A commentary about what is happening
Output from your command
prompt$ command filename
Question from running command? [y|n] y
Output from your command

When editing a file, you will see something similar to this. Note that when a file is being changed slightly your attention will be drawn to those areas that are highlighted.

…    the ellipsis indicate omitted content
option wpad code 252 = string;  bold indicates changes

subnet 192.168.1.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
    option wpad "http://webserver.example.com/wpad.dat";
}

The prompt may be different, depending on what you need to know. Sometimes, a directory might be shown, such as /etc$, in which case it is expected that the command be run from the directory /etc. The $ is a common notation for sh-based shells (such as bash which you are all using by default) and means that the command is to be run as a normal user. A # would indicate that it is to be run as the root user, typically by using the sudo command.

Often you will need to enter something different than what the text is saying; the filename above for example. You are not expected to type in filename, but rather a filename, such as /etc/resolv.conf, as indicated by the surrounding text.

Beware though that different conventions may be used in on-line and printed documentation.